The quality of service in this breezy rooftop restaurant is second to none. While every other householder in the village has slung up a bamboo roof on top of their building and declared themselves a restaurateur, the Franco-Indian couple who own "Le Yogi" really know their business: the waiter takes your order quickly, and with no fuss; he brings your (cold) drink immediately; finally, he places in front of you the exact dishes you asked for, at the same time as those of your partner. The food is fresh and the atmosphere is laid back and informal. The decor, although similar to the de rigeur paper-lantern school of interiors beloved by exotic backpacker destinations, is just that little bit more chic and tasteful. With shelves full of books and games, you could easily spend all day here.
The only thing that lets it down is the rather basic squat lavatory with no flush system except a dripping tap.
They also run "La Pizzeria de Mama", on the opposite corner. But you can have your pizza delivered to "Le Yogi" if you can't be arsed to move away from this friendly, chilled place.
19, Othavadai St, Fishermen Colony, Mamallapuram - 603104, Tamil Nadu
Google map: bit.ly/KCqfXG
The laid back backpacker's surfer paradise of Mamallapuram is also home to some startling Unesco-listed 7th-8th century rock carvings. When you consider they have been ravaged by the feisty Bay of Bengal for nearly one and a half thousand years (how many tsunamis have washed over the shore temples?) they are in pretty good nick. Scattered on the beach, through the town and on the hill, the carved boulders dominate the small fishing village. Most are free to visit, but the Archaeological Survey of India demands its pound of flesh from foreign tourists in the form of 250 rupees for the main attractions of the Shore Temples and five Rathas (it's a measly 10 rupees for Indian nationals). Don't be mean, though, it's worth every paisa.
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